Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez died yesterday. Finally. Now the Venezuelan people must deal with his brutal legacy, Chavismo, as well as those in the government that defend it. Chavismo is a radical, left-wing ideology that is uniquely Venezuelan, but heavily influenced by the Cuban regime and the Cuban Communist Party. There are other countries in the Americas living under its taint and, if left unchecked, others could follow.
A close friend who follows politics in the region called me asking for a reaction on the recent events and the prospects for change. My first reaction was to tell him about the short memory the media, and most policy experts, seem to have on the brutality of the Venezuelan regime. As for Chavez’s demise, Proverbs 11:10 seemed appropriate: “When it goeth well with the just, the city shall rejoice: and when the wicked perish, there shall be praise.”
Fellow travelers throughout the world mourned the loss of one of their own. Expect to be subjected in the media to heavy loads of historical revisionism. They lie. To survive, they must perpetuate the lie. That is why, Chavez is Dead, Chavismo Lives. The struggle, at least in their minds, lives on. What is most pernicious about these political troglodytes – in Venezuela, the Hemisphere, and around the world – is that they take advantage of the most vulnerable and economically disadvantaged in our society.
In reality though, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and many other Latin American leaders sympathetic to the anti-capitalist system advanced by Cuba are scared. They should be. The political leaders that support Cuban Communism, the system Chavismo cloaks but advances, is a thing of the past. It cannot be sustained. They know it.
For millions of people in the Western Hemisphere, freedom seems out of reach or increasingly under attack. This too shall come to pass. In the end, these despots, budding tyrants, and those who support them, will awaken from the slumber. Reality will deliver a pin prick unlike any other. As President Ronald Reagan said: “[N]o arsenal or no weapon in the arsenals of the world is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.” And we have plenty of these people, at the ready, throughout the Americas. We need to do more to help them.